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October 22, 2006

ACC Notes: Biggest question mark is Paulus

Tubby on the hot seat
Preseason Top 25
The College Basketball Wire

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ACC Media Day: Conference hangs tight to elite label
Photo gallery: Scenes from ACC Media Day

GREENSBORO, N.C. The first question asked of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski at the ACC's annual Operation Basketball on Sunday at the Grandover Resort was not surprising.

What is the status of sophomore point guard Greg Paulus?

Paulus, who averaged 6.7 points and 5.2 assists per game last season, suffered a broken bone in his left foot during Duke's initial practice of the season last week. He is out indefinitely and could miss as many as four-to-six weeks.

Paulus suffered the injury when he landed awkwardly on the foot of teammate DeMarcus Nelson during the practice.

"Greg is out for an undetermined amount of time. We are probably looking at weeks not months. ... He has responded well to the treatment," Krzyzewski said.

Krzyzewski added that they will know more when the protective boot Paulus is wearing is removed.

As for Paulus' replacement at the point, those duties will likely fall to freshman Jon Scheyer for the moment. Scheyer has the reputation as a shooter, but now will also have the ballhandling and distributing chores.

Krzyzewski also said that talented sophomore forward Josh McRoberts may have to bring the ball up the court in certain situations.

"Josh is an excellent ballhandler. [Former Duke All-American] Danny Ferry used to bring the ball up the court at times and he was really good, but Josh may even be a little better - at least in that area," Krzyzewski said.

Sixteen is enough. Recently, some of the league's ADs have put forth the possibility of increasing the current 16 conference games to 18. Nearly all of the coaches present Sunday objected to that notion, with North Carolina's Roy Williams the most vocal.

"I was dumbfounded when I heard that. I don't think it is wise or best. Of course, the ADs are the bosses and they will do what they want to do. But I wouldn't be in favor of that in any way, shape or form," Williams said.

The current 16-game model was enacted with the expansion of the league two years ago. Williams said if the ACC switched to an 18-game conference schedule, you'd see changes in the way he scheduled nonconference games.

"I don't think I'd schedule any more tough, national out-of-conference games if we went to 18 ACC games," Williams said.

Troubles on the gridiron. With their 23-0 loss at Virginia on Thursday night, the football version of the Tar Heels are now 1-6 on the season. The performance this season led to the ouster of UNC football coach John Bunting. UNC officials announced Sunday night that Bunting would finish the season, but would not be back next year.

Earlier in the day, Williams acknowledged that he has seen it take a toll on his colleague.

"This has been a very, very difficult time for John and for [UNC athletic director] Dick Baddour, and it was been a very, very difficult time for anyone who is a Carolina fan," Williams said.

Conversely, the troubles at football-crazed Florida State have shed a more positive light on its basketball program and its star forward, Al Thornton.

Thornton is a first-team All-ACC preseason selection after averaging 16.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest a season ago. Additionally, Florida State is touting him as an All-America candidate in its media guide.

With a good season perhaps in the offing for the Seminoles as a whole, Thornton says the increased attention has been noticeable.

"We're not really accustomed to it. Usually all the talk is about football this time of year, but now you are hearing more and more about the basketball program," Thornton said.

Finally healthy. Virginia junior guard Sean Singletary can probably count the healthy days he's had in Charlottesville on one hand.

"It hasn't been many," said Singletary, a first-team All-ACC selection last season when he averaged 17.7 points and 4.2 assists.

FIRST-TEAM ALL-ACC
The ACC men's basketball preseason all conference first team.
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
Jared Dudley, Boston College
Sean Singletary, Virginia
Al Thorton, Florida State
Josh McRoberts, Duke
Actually, Singletary estimates that his junior year of high school was the last time he wasn't suffering from one pain or another. A shoulder injury during a high school football game bothered him for much of his first season at Virginia. A hip pointer nagged at him nearly all of his sophomore season.

Now healthy, Singletary is ready for the season in which he'll team with senior J.R. Reynolds to form one of the nation's best backcourts.

"I'm looking forward to the season. It's a new year, we are in a new arena and our coaching staff is in just its second season. There really is a whole new focus and we are a very hungry team entering the season," Singletary said.

New digs. Virginia will open its new $130 million John Paul Jones Arena on Nov. 12 against Arizona. The 15,000-seat facility has already hosted events, but the contest in two weeks will be its first basketball game.

"I think everyone is excited to play in the new arena," said Virginia coach Dave Leitao. "I was only in University Hall for one season, but it was a good place for us. We were 11-3 there last season, but I think everyone is looking forward to the new arena."

The facility was built with every modern amenity possible - from multiple practice courts to expanded locker rooms. Certainly, the move has not been lost on the Virginia players.

"I think it [the arena] just raises the level for us. We know that we want to play well in the JPJ and but a good product out there," Reynolds said.

New digs, part II. New N.C. State basketball coach Sidney Lowe has never coached a college basketball game, having served as an NBA head coach (Timberwolves, Grizzlies) or an assistant for much of the past 13 seasons. Since officially hired to replace former coach Herb Sendek, the former N.C. State standout has been asked repeatedly about his learning curve in the college ranks.

"It's been different. I've been doing a lot of listening," Lowe said. "I've coached in the NBA and understood that, but right now I've been doing a lot of listening and learning."

Lowe mentioned the obvious differences between the college game and the pro game.

"In the NBA it's pure basketball. It's basketball 24/7. But in college you have things like meetings, speaking engagements and making sure kids go to class. So there are some adjustments," Lowe said.

Of course, Lowe has several other adjustments as well. Though he has maintained a house in the Raleigh area since his playing days for the Wolfpack, Lowe still has trouble finding his way around at times.

"Raleigh has changed so much and the campus has changed so much from when I was there," Lowe said. "I've already gotten lost once."



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